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Downum Elated With Measure “J” Vote

San Andreas, CA — Calaveras County Sheriff Dennis Downum slept well Tuesday evening thanks to the passage of the $31 million, 30 year Measure “J” bond issue that will provide the county with a new jail-administration complex.

The measure needed a two-thirds approval and it received just a shade over that figure finishing at 67.47%. The Calaveras County Elections Department still has a sizable number of absentee and provisional ballots to count.

Downum says the public approval is definitely a vote of confidence for the Sheriff´s Department. Thursday Downum will be attending a Correction Standards Authority Executive Board meeting in Napa at which time a draft form from the state for jail construction will be discussed. Those forms will be finalized on November 14th. Grant proposals will be initiated on December 1 and turned into the state by the first of the year. Funding decisions from the state should be revealed in May.

Downum added that the need for such a facility was first revealed in the mid 1980´s. Downum, himself, has been working on the project for approximately 12 years.

Downum believes a key to passage of the measure was the public jail tours. He says there were some people who balked at the idea but once they toured the 44 year old facility they quickly changed their minds. Overall Downum says everybody has agreed a new jail was needed but some stated they simply could not afford a tax increase.

The $31 million, 30 year bond calls for $10 million for the county´s 25% of the total cost of the jail, $14 million for the administration, communications and 911 dispatch center, $6 million for the infastructure and $1 million for bond insurance.

The average taxpayer burden has been estimated at $18.37 per $100,000 of assessed valuation.

Written by Bill Johnson